There is negativity everywhere. From an angry, rude coworker or boss, unfriendly neighbor, or that obnoxious person at church. It's so easy to dwell on unpleasant situations or unattractive qualities in a person. Thus, it can be quite difficult to have hope and see the best in people and situations. There are two types of people in this world: pessimists and optimists. Pessimists always assume the worst in everything, they lack confidence and hope for humanity and situations. They expect failure. Optimists don't dwell on the bad things in life and instead focus on improvement and live each day to the fullest, even when it's very challenging. They look to inspire others to do the same. No one is born a pessimist or optimist. It's a learned behavior. One that develops through a set of choices we make every day.
A few weeks ago, I was struggling with anxiety and doubt over a problem. I've been praying to God, asking Him to take it away but instead of feeling peace, I felt more stressed out. I reached out to several friends for support and encouragement, however, one of them didn't really care, assumed the worst, and insensitively told me to move on. Thankfully, the other friend understood what I was going through and spent time praying for me on the spot and gave me some words of encouragement that really made a difference. I felt relieved about the situation, but my mood quickly turned bitter and sour at the thought of being coldly brushed off by the other person. Anger and resentment began to fill my heart and my head was getting filled with thoughts on getting back at that person for being cold. But I knew that wouldn't solve the issue and I'd only be setting more fire, so I sat down, took deep breaths, prayed, and wrote in my journal.
Maybe you've been in a similar situation like mine and can relate. One minute everything's going well, then the next minute you find yourself in a heated situation with your boss, a family member or friend starts taking all their crap out on you from a stressful day, a misunderstanding happened between you and a co-worker and instead of listening, they judge you based on false assumptions and continue to see only the "worst" in you and your motives.
For a long time, I believed the real issue was how somebody treated me or thought very little of me, when actually it was my attitude towards it by being offended and playing victim. Though it's not always easy, choosing to be positive in the midst of negativity is achievable. Each day you get to decide whether you'll be content or be miserable. "You can't live a positive life with a negative mind."
Something I've learned which I think plays a crucial factor in choosing one or the other, is knowing and accepting your identity. If you're constantly thinking about your flaws and dwelling on your mistakes or what people think about you or did to you and base your identity on those things, you're always going to be in a negative state of mind which will reflect in your attitude through whining, complaining, gossiping, putting people down, denial, and self-pity. Pessimism doesn't affect just you, it affects people around you which ignites more negativity that spreads like wildfire. If you're a Christian, then you should know where your real identity comes from. Your true identity doesn't come from opinions or what you do. It is found in Jesus. Letting Christ be your defining aspect brings immeasurable hope and freedom that you can't obtain anywhere else. A relationship with God is where it all starts. The more you intimately know Jesus, the more you understand His nature and character. The more you know His nature and character, the more you know who you are in Him. Knowing and embracing your identity in Christ will result in exemplifying more of His selfless love, goodness, forgiveness, kindness, patience, hope, and joy with people. Even when it's challenging. If you're not a Christian and would like to know more, check this out: https://thestoryfilm.com/watch/en
"True beauty[love, joy, forgiveness, thankfulness, patience, humility, faith, hope, peace, and benevolence]emanates from a woman who boldly and unabashedly knows who she is in Christ." -Lauren DeMoss(italics in brackets mine)
In my journal, I wrote "In Christ" at the top of the page and underneath, I jotted down everything I berated myself with and put "NOT" in between "I am" and "defined by" and on the next page, I wrote "In Christ" again at the top and under that, I listed out who I am in Him as you can see down below. And every morning, I make it a habit to reaffirm my identity in Christ by speaking them out loud over myself. Words have immense power. They can either build up or tear down.
I am NOT defined by my mistakes
I am NOT defined by opinions
I am NOT defined by my failings/limitations
I am NOT defined by negative words people tell me or I tell myself
I am NOT defined by my thoughts or words that doesn't come out right or lead to misinterpretation
I am NOT defined by my career
I am NOT defined by my salary
I am NOT defined by my past
I am NOT defined by what I failed to do
I am NOT defined by my education(or lack thereof)
I am NOT defined by my defective thoughts or feelings
I am NOT defined by how I struggle on a day to day basis
I am NOT defined by anxious, irrational thoughts concerning my faith
I am NOT defined by my hasty and impulsive behavior
I am NOT defined by the number on a scale or how I look
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8
I'm a positive woman
I'm a selfless woman
I'm a loving woman
I'm a kind-hearted woman
I'm a humble woman
I'm a praying woman
I'm a compassionate woman
I'm a God-fearing woman
I'm a virtuous woman
I'm a discerning woman
I'm a strong woman
I'm a smart woman
I'm a courageous woman
I'm a wise woman
I'm a forgiving woman
I'm a peaceful woman
I'm a faithful woman
I'm a joyful woman
I'm an encouraging woman
I'm a hard-working woman
I'm a diligent woman
I'm a meek woman
I'm an obedient woman
I'm a patient woman
I'm a praising woman
I'm a thankful woman
I'm a capable woman
I'm a complete woman
I'm a teachable woman
I'm a victorious woman
I am not perfect. I'll slip and fall on my face and get discouraged, all of us do. Even the most optimistic people. Nobody's perfect. But an optimist picks himself/herself back up, brushes off the dirt, seizes every obstacle as a learning opportunity, and moves forward even when the going gets tough. Pessimists quit before they even try or stop trying when it gets hard.
Something that's also very helpful is writing down inspirational quotes on note cards and using them as bookmarks or carry them with you to work to read on your lunch break. You can also write down your favorite Bible verses and meditate on them out loud. Play worship music or a song that has a positive message to it. One of the songs I listen (and dance to) to is "Shake It Off " by Taylor Swift. Even if you're not a Swifty, you can't deny the positive message in that song. Find whatever works best for you, start small and gradually build on up, have fun, share the positivity, joy, love, and kindness wherever you go. It takes one person to make a difference. BE that person. I believe in you.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."-Proverbs 17:22